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matter of opinion, which the House might | grievances, had a right to be heard. Their

adopt or not as it pleased. If the petiti- petition ought to be received if the lan. oners differed in opinion, that opinion was guage was not wholly unconstitutional, expressed with deference, and it still re- but with the House it remained to determained with the House to determine whe- mine, whether they should follow


their ther they would grant the prayer or not. address or not. It was for this simple The truth was, that no petition would be pre right he contended, and he saw nothing in gented to the House without an object, and the present petition that would deprive the that object must necessarily either be to do petitioners of it. something they had omitted, or to undo Mr. Jacob said, it was his firm and de. something they had donc. A petition ap- cided conviction, that a majority, and a proving, in all respects of their conduct, very great majority, of the real people, was not to be expected, because in such a not the populace, were against the princase there could be no occasion for pe- ciples contained in this petition. He adtioning. Every petition implied complaint, mitted that the populace of England apand that complaint must necessarily re- proved of the sentiments of this petition, late either to some ground of grievance or but not the people of England, and he neglect. If this petition was rejected, he made a great distinction between the saw no ground on which any petition from people of England, and the populace of the people of England could hereafter be England, and contended, that the prinreceived, so that the right of petitioning ciples here set forth, are maintained must be wholly destroyed. It would be and supported by those designing perfor the House to consider if they would sons whose aim it was to set the popuhold out this doctrine to the people, and lace of England above the people and the tell them that no complaint on their part laws of England. Had the people of Engwould be henceforth heard by the House. land approved of these sentiments, there He admitted at the same time, that there must have been a great many more petiwere expressions in this petition that might tions than he had, hitherto, seen; but have been better omitted ; but what were there were pone-except in London, they to expect when the people had been Westminster, Hackney, and Reading. disappointed and irritated? When it was To convene meetings upon subjects of the opinion of so many persons in and out politics at these populous places was not of the House-when, he would say, it was difficult, for those who connected themthe opinion of such a great and enlightened selves in strict alliance with the inhabimind as that of the hon. gent. near him tants of Fleet-lane and Saffron-hill; and (Mr. Whitbread), not only that the House with such persons when a great number had exercised its privileges improvidently of them were collected, it was easy to but that it had no right, in the present case, raise among them the cry of No Peculato exercise it at all-was it surprising that tion, and No Popery, or any other cry, as the people should express themselves it was pretty certain that these sons of frankly and warmly on the subject light would rally round each other, for Goaded and irritated as the people had re- the sake of plunder, if nothing else ; that cently been by the conduct of public men being the practice on which their existence (one of whom, in whose imprudence all depended; but he contended, and he hoped those difficulties in which the House found the House would believe that the language itself originated, had lately been raised to of this petition did not proceed from the peoa situation of great honour and emolu- ple of England. As to the livery of London, ment), was it surprising that the petitions they were not collected together in such should express their feelings of disgust in a manner as they could speak the sense of strong and energetic language? The the livery at large. One of his hon. . House, he admitted, must have privileges; friends had said, that there were present but if the House had their privileges, the on this occasion about 2000 persons ; people had their privileges too; and one and he maintained that not one-half of of these privileges was to bring their com- them were liverymen; and he undertook plaints and grievances before that House. to account for this by observing, that if they stood up in defence of their own across the Common ball there was a pasprivileges, it was but fair they should allow sage to go into the court of King's bench, the people theirs. The people, whether so that every person who demanded adright or wrong in their claims—whether mission into that open court, was entitled justifiable or not in their complaints or to enter, and persons in this way got into

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the common hall, who were no liverymen, York)--and also the brother of Mr. Pittunder pretence of going into the court of (the earl of Chatham)—they had not esKing's bench.

Thus, they passed for caped his censure, since it appeared to livérymen ; and by clamour and brutality him that they deserved it,sir F. Burdett which prevail at such places, they intimi- had met his censure also, and he deserved dated ihe peaceable and the decent; for it a thousand times more than the other it was too much to expect that such persons two; for he was a thousand times more would expose themselves to the brutality criminal.-He said he was no follower of or ferocity of persons of that description; a court faction, any more than be was a many of whom were assassins and pick- partisan in these turbulent proceedings; pockets. Decent, sober, and quiet men nor were the people of England factious would not attend among such a rabble. or pleased with these violent proceedings. Being thus deterred from attending the When he spoke of the people of England common hall, some of the most res. he alluded to that middle class of the compectable of the livery drew up a protest munity, among whom resided so much against the proceedings of this common virtue and so much intelligence, and that hall. They were 1,700 in all; a greater class of the community was of opinion, number of the livery men of London than that the House of Commons had not they had actually attended this common exceeded its authority in the present hali on this occasion; they published this case, but had exerted that authority for their protest, and they were what they the protection of its own proceedings, and professed to be, really liverymen of Lon for the general benefit of the people of don; they pledged themselves, not to England. He did not admit that the feel. support the ministers, but to support the ings of the people of England were such constitution of this country; that was to as the hon. bart. had stated, that is, fa. say, they pledged themselves to support vourable to the sentiments contained in the form of government under which we this petition ; these sentiments and feelhad the happiness to live, as it was formed ings he believed were not common to the of King, Lords, and Commons; and pos- people of England; as a proof of it, there sessing as they did an attachment to the were no petitions from any quarter, except representatives of the people; shewing as that of this metropolis and the county of they did, a proper regard and respect for Middlesex; but when the meeting wis at the representatives of the people, and a Hackney, which could easily commonsfull confidence in the virtue of the wisdom cate with Saffron hill, on account of its of the parliament and purity of the laws being in the vicinity, there a mob might of the land, and the equal distribution of be raised at any time. As a proof that justice, he did believe, and after this he these proceedings which were had a hoped he should not hear any thing to the public meetings, were the work of a few contrary, that the virtuous part of the com- individuals, and not the spontaneous efmunity were against the publication of fusion of the hearts of the mass of the such sentiments as those which were con- people of England, he called upon the tained in this petition, but they were in. House to remember that there were ne timidated by these ferocious persons who petitions of this kind from any part of the attended these public meetings; there country. He took that to be a proof of were many who knew the truth of what these principles not being countenanced he was saying, and that there were, even by the people of England. He did not of real property, character, and virtue, pretend to infallibility. Should other many who had been terrified into silence petitions come, he should change his opiby a desperate mob on this occasion was nion; but he set very little value on the notorious, but they had afterwards expressed resolutions of such a mob as that which their dissent to these turbulent proceed. he had endeavoured to describe; they ings. He maintained that he was no more were strangers to each other when they of a party man than sir F. Burdett himself met, and generally followed any leader

as independent in that and voted any thing that was proposed to House as any man in it, nor was he afraid them; where a meeting was held of neighto avow his sentiments on this or on any bours, and persons who knew each other, other occasion; as a proof of it, he begged and they passed resolutions, expressive leave to refer the House to his conduct in of their complaints, attention should be it. He had by his vote, shewn he could paid to the determination, of such a censure the son of the King--(the duke of meeting, because it was the result of


He was

the genuine feeling of the people of legitimate sense of the word people; and England. He did not mean to draw believing, that some of the instigators of a conclusion from all these observa- these proceedings connected themselvey tions against the reception of the present with desperadoes, who, by their presence, petition offered to the House, that was a struck ierrör into the virtuous part of the matter entirely with the House, and they community who happened to wiiness their would deal with it according to its deserts; clamour by which they imposed silence he should not object to it on account of its on those who differed from them in opibeing signed by only 12. men, but he nion-he should vote against the recepcould no more help thinking that these tion of this petition. things were the effect of the management Sir S. Romilly observed, that it must be of a few, than he could help thinking, that the general wish, to come to a calm vote he was himself a citizen of London. And on the subject, whatever that vote miglit applying the knowledge which he pos- be, but the speech of the hon. gent. who sessed as a citizen of London, and com- spoke last was not much calculated to proparing the spirit of the resolutions which mote that object. Having voted for the passed at the meeting of the livery, with Middlesex petition, the House would not the language of the petition now offered, be surprised that he should support the he would say, if there be one man in that receiving of this. It was of the utmost House who would lay his hand upon bis importance that those who proposed to heart, and then declare, he did not be- vote for the rejection of the petition, should lieve these petitioners intended to insult distinctly state the grounds of that rejecthe House, all he could say, was, that such tion. If the doors of the House, accorda member would be justified in voting for ing to the expression of the Speaker, which the reception of this petition; but the had been received with such universal apjudgment of such a member was very dif. probation, were to be thrown wide open to ferent from his; he trusted, however, that petitioners the House ought not to make the feeling he had upon the subject of this any great difficulty on account of the expetition, was consonant to the general pressions of persons who really thought feeling of the House, and that, therefore, themselves aggrieved. The House ought this petition would be rejected by the to be desirous that these appeals should be House. He was ready to throw open the made to itself, and that these differences of doors of the House of Commons, as widely opinion should find their proper channel as possible, for the purpose of receiving in addresses to the House. He was not genuine petitions ; that was to say, those in the House last night, and therefore had statements of grievances really felt by no means of knowing what passed in it, those who complained of them, and who except through the information of friends really did seek redress in the true spirit and other sources of communication; upon by which redress ought to be expected, matters of this sort he bad endeavoured, and by which alone it could be obtained, through these mediæ, to inform himself of by civility of language and decency of what passed on that occasion, and he deportment; but it would be childish folly owned he did not then collect, nor could to throw open the door of the House of he now see, the ground on which the petia, Commons to such a thing as this, for it tion now offered to the House was to be was neither more nor less than a studied rejected by it. That was information insult on the House of Commons, reflect- wbich he had yet to acquire. He had ing on events, some of which had occurred heard it said, that the present petition was last year, and which had no real connec- meant to insult the House. How was he tion with the matter which the petitioners to collect the meaning of those petitioners profess now to be their object to attain; but by the language of the petition. That and stating some things as facts, which language was humble. His learned friend, in reality never occurred. Such, for in the Chancellor of the Eschequer, thought stance, as that of our troops going to Wal- otherwise; he hoped he would point out cheren without any object, and without hereafter, wherein the language was not hope ;-that was not true, for they had an humble. The matter of the petition could object and an hope in the expedition to not be agreeable to the House of Coma Walcheren, although both were cruelly mons, because it was a petition presented frustrated. To conclude, believing, as he to them against themselves, and if the did, that this petition did not speak the House of Commons were determined not sense of the people of England-ja any to have any thing presented to them that VOL, XYI,


was disagreeable, they never would bare anger. So far was this from being against any petition presented against any act of the petitioners, that they ought to be retheir own at all. But, gentlemen said, spected for their forbearance in the lar “ look at the petition, and then put your guage they had used towards the House, hand upon your heart and say, whether since they had expressed much less than you do not think it was intended to send they felt. Nor had the House any reason to you an insult, although there was nothing to take offence at any person being angry offensive in the language.” He could not with it for its conduct. The House ooglit take upon himself to say that he had been only to act on what had been expressed, able to perceive in the petition any thing not on what had been thought, for if the that appeared insulting, he bad examined House was disposed to punish every body it with all the care he was able, and yet who thought ill of its proceedings, perhe had not been able to find out any of haps it would be difficuit to know where fensive language in this petition.-(Mur- to stop; for that would go to the rejection murs from ihe ministerial benches)—Gen- of every petition, that ever was, or could tlemen might think what they pleased, be presented to the House, in consequence but he had no desire, no wish but that of of its own conduct. But the hon. gent. preventing the House getting into a situa- who spoke last, had said, more than once, tion which might increase its perplexity, and seemed to dwell with a good deal of for it had difliculties enough to encounter emphasis upon the expression, that the already. He wished to conciliate the sentiments contained in this petition were people, rather than irritate them; for what not the sentiments of the people of Eng. object could he have in taking any course land-it did not purport to be the sentibut that which was likely to allay any ment of the people of England, it puranimosity, rather than awake it? He ported only to be the sentiment of the should therefore ask the House what the livery of London in common-ball, assemreason was that this petition was to be re- bled regularly and constitutionally, and to fused reception, except merely because it be the sentiment of a majority of the is the opinion of the House that this peri- livery on the occasion to which the petition is certainly intended to insult the tition referred; that out of 3,000, ar House; but he could not see one point of 2,000, no matter which, that were assem. difference between the present petition bled on that day and on that occasion, which is to be rejected, and the West- there were not 20 who dissented in all. nzinster petition which was received, ex- But if this petition was to be rejected, cept that the Chancellor of the Exchequer because it is not the sentiment of the peoapproved of the reception of one, and ple in England, it would come to this, disapproves of the reception of the other. that every petition must be rejected that He saw no difference in the two petitions, is not agreeable to the people of England, except that which was greatly in favour which, besides the difficulty of ascertainof the present petition. But it had been ing how the fact stood in such a case, insaid, that if the resolutions which preceded volved many other and insuperable difithis petition were examined, it would culties; but that was not, never had been, instantly appear, that the petitioners were and he hoped, never would be, the rule by angry with the House of Commons, and which petitions were to be judged of; the therefore it is natural to suppose that they question was, not whether it was consomeant to insult the House. He really nant with the wishes of the people at thought the House of Commons were not large, but whether it was so, with regard to look at the resolutions at all, they were to the wishes of those who presented it. not before the flouse, and they were not Was hat House to wait till they heard the intended to be transmitted to the House, opinions of all the people before they ad. por should the House consider itself bound mitted a petition from a portion of them? to know of their existence; but if the The hon. gent. had made distinctions beIlouse were disposed to take notice of such tween the people and populace, and had resolutions, and found that they contained fortunately given a definition which ena evidence of anger against the House, it bled others to collect that he contrasted was evidence also that the petitioners, al. the middling with the lower orders. Bit though they felt anger, expressed none was that House, designed to be the repretowards the House, which shewed that the sentative of the whole of the people, to petitioners did not intend to insult the allow of any such contrast? And then the Flouse; else why should they conceal their hon. gent. said, that decent people were

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prevented from assembling in the hall, | land, and coeval with it. It was with
frow a dread of pickpockets and assas- these that our ancestors fought against
sins!! He would not have mentioned this arbitrary power; and he hoped, that if it
had he not thought that it would be a dis- was necessary they should again be exer-
grace to this popular assembly, whose digo cised in a similar manner, either against the
nity depended upon its being a popular crown or the populace. It was the duty
assembly, to pass over such expressions of the present generation to hand them
without notice. As for the claniour that down to their posterity as they had re-
was always to be beard at popular meet-ceived them from their fathers." He had
ings, it even sometimes prevailed in that no hesitation in voting against the recep-
House ; but as far as he had heard, there tion of the petition.
was nothing like violence at the meeting; Sir John Newport observed, that the very
and to say that persons could not attend idea of a petition implied disapprobation,
it without imminent danger to their pro- and that, if disapprobation of the conduct
perty and lives, was not a true description of the house was to be a ground of ob-
of it. He repeated, that if they were to jection, they might have axidresses, but
reject the petition they ought to state the they never could have petitions. Were
grounds distinctly. The hon. gent. said, they to force the people to allow their
that other counties had not petitioned, but grievances to ferment in their own bo.
if the doctrine was to be acted upon that soms instead of coming with a declaration
you ought not receive one petition for fear of them to the House? This was what
of encouraging others, it was not likely bad produced the calamities on the con-
that other counties ever would petition. tinent, The privilege of stating their
He thought, on the contrary, that the en- grievances, was one which he hoped the
couraging of others to come to the House people would never part with; for, if they
for the redress of grierances was a reason did, there was an end of the constitution.
for receiving this petition. It was, he re. This petition came from a regular body
peated, of the greatest importance to en- legally convened, which an hon. gent.,
courage this mode of appeal. He would who had been elected to a high office
vote for the reception of the petition. in the city (Mr. Jacob) had characterised,

Mr. C. W. Wynn stated, that the reason by coupling them with assassins and picka why he approved of the adjournment last pockets from Saffiron-hill and Fleel-lane ! night was that many were absent from not Were the Livery of London and the Inknowing that the petition was to have habitants of Westminster, to be debarred been presented. He never had any doubt from presenting petitions, because they upon the subject himself. He disclaimed happened to have such places as Saffrons the resolutions as any ground of objection hill and Fleet-lane in their neighbourto the petition, though these were highly hood? As to his assertion, that there offensive, and might have been a just cause were no petitions from other counties, of punishment for breach of privilege. But there might be such petitions in good men for their improper conduct in other time; but at any rate were they to rerespects were not to be deprived of their fuse to hear a part of the people till the inherent right of petition. The question whole came forward? Sir J. next ad. was, whether the petition itself was couch- verted to the counter declaration, which ed in proper language. In his opinion it be contended was irregular. How were was not. When they said that the House counties to be assembled if this practice had imprisoned two of their fellow sub. was to become general. Instead of going jects without law and against law, it was about from house to house for signatures, not the introdyetion of such expressions all who could ought to have attended the by an “ humbly conceive,” that could meeting. It was their duty to have done render them unexceptionable. They so. But then the hon. gent. said, that the might as well say, that they humbly con, King's-bench was sitting at Guildhall, and ceived that the House had not the power that a great number got in under the preof taxing, or of passing a bill, and yet tence of going to that court, Was that could these expressions be endured? The always the case? Were these meetings petition was a studied insult. He did not never to be considered as of any great go into the falsehood of the assertions, consequence, except when they approved that they had acted against law, &c. since of the conduct of ministers? A great deal it was well known, that the privileges of was said about taking the sense of the the House were part of the law of the people in opposition to that of the House

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